House Ethics Committee Sets Panel for Cuellar Inquiry

May 29, 2024 by Dan McCue
House Ethics Committee Sets Panel for Cuellar Inquiry
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, speaks during a campaign event, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee on Wednesday announced the formation of an investigative subcommittee to look into alleged criminal conduct by Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas.

As previously reported by The Well News, Cuellar and his wife were indicted on April 30 on charges of allegedly accepting nearly $600,000 in bribes and laundered funds from an oil company owned by the Azerbaijan government as well as a Mexican bank.

Cuellar has denied any wrongdoing.

“I want to be clear that both my wife and I are innocent of these allegations. Everything I have done in Congress has been to serve the people of South Texas,” he said in a written statement when the charges were announced.

Wednesday’s action by the Ethics Committee is something of a formality. Pursuant to Committee Rule 18(e)(2) and House Rule XI, clause 3(b)(9), it has 30 days after a member’s indictment or being charged with criminal conduct to either establish an investigative panel or issue a report to the chamber, explaining why it isn’t doing so.

In Cuellar’s case, the Ethics Committee voted unanimously in favor of investigating the charges made against the longtime congressman who has represented Texas’s 28th Congressional District for nearly 20 years.

The subcommittee has been tasked with determining whether Cuellar solicited or accepted bribes, gratuities or improper gifts; acted as a foreign agent; violated federal money laundering laws; misused his official position for private gain; and/or made false statements or omissions on public disclosure statements filed with the House.

Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., will chair the subcommittee, while Rep. Glenn Ivey, D-Md., will serve as its ranking member.

The other two members of the investigative subcommittee are Reps. Ben Cline, R-Va., and Madeleine Dean, D-Pa.

In forming the panel the Ethics Committee said it is well aware of the risks associated with dual investigations, and is in communications with the Justice Department to mitigate those risks while also meeting its obligations to safeguard the integrity of the House. 

“No other public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with committee rules,” the committee said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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